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Kalahari desert and the Okavango delta

Updated on November 4, 2014

Okavango Delta in the middle of the Kalahari

In the southeastern part of Africa is one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the world. The Okavango is a huge river that is unusual in the fact that it doesn’t flow into any ocean.

The Okavango River empties into a large swamp area that is the lifeblood of Botswana in southern Africa.

In the middle of the Kalahari Desert is this oasis of life that is the key to survival for many of the African animals.

Millions of animals migrate across the Kalahari desert in the rainy season. There goal is to get to the delta where they can get the food and water that they need to survive.

The Okavango River starts in the highlands of Angola and flows some 800 miles into Botswana. Then into the Okavango delta, the largest inland delta in the world.

The Okavango river is the fourth longest river system in southern Africa. It' also one of the few rivers in the world that doesn't flow into an ocean.

The delta is 6,000 square miles of channels, reed beds, Papyrus beds, swamps, and some deep-water areas. Vast areas covered with only inches of water. Many shallow areas filled with reed beds and Papyrus grass.

Okavango delta Creative commons
Okavango delta Creative commons


The climate is backwards of what you would think, in the dry season is when the waters come and flood the delta. It takes several months for the water to travel the 800 miles from Angola to the delta, by then the dry season is already in full swing. With the floods come the wildlife from all over the Kalahari and southern Africa.


There are approximately 35 million fish from over 80 species that live in the delta and the Okavango River. The other wildlife that lives in the area during the dry-season covers almost every animal that lives in Africa.

The hippo population does well in the Okavango. The hippos are an important to the other wildlife in the area.

Hippos walking through the papyrus and reeds lay the grass down. This makes trails allowing other animals a way to navigate through the swamps.

Other wildlife living in the area consists of, Lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffalo, wildebeest, antelope, kudu, wild dogs, hyenas, sable, roan, impala, and thousands of birds. The area contains one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.


There are 5 ethnic groups of people living in the Okavango delta area; they are the Hambukushu, Bugakwe, Tanekwe, Wayeyi, and the Xanekwe, all of which have their own language and culture.

Travel and safari

There are many tours and safari trips available in the area. The accommodations range from roughing it, to luxury camps with spa’s and pools and fist class service.

The best time to go is the dry season. The water in the delta is the highest and there are many more animals to see. The mosquitoes are also less of a problem. The humidity is lower, and the temperatures are more comfortable. The dry-season runs from May through October.
The worse time to go is from December through February, it rains a lot, the mosquitoes are terrible, the humidity is high, and it's hot. Over 100 degrees every day.

I checked on what it would cost to travel to the Okavango. What I found for what I thought was the best tour.
A 21-day overland tour that leaves from Cape Town South Africa.
The tour goes through many interesting areas’s, including the Okavango, and ends up at Victoria Falls.

The cost of the trip, which includes food and a guide, is around $6200 per person. If you add airfare from Mpls to Cape town, a 27-hour flight, another $1300 per person round trip. Then add to it the cost of other expenses on the trip. You could get the trip for around $18,000 to $20,000 for 2. Not a cheap trip, but it would be a once in a lifetime trip.

Okavango Delta

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Sounds wonderful, but anymore I just like to enjoy these places on the flatscreen from the safety of my home. It is a lovely place.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 

      8 years ago from Cape Town

      I love the Okavango, went up there some years ago for a fishing competition in Shakawe!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      The Okavango is a really beautiful place. I was privilieged to spend 10 days in the delta in 1996. It was just wonderful and worth every cent we paid for it.

      Thanks for writing this.

      Love and peace


    • rvsrinivasan profile image


      8 years ago

      It is very nice to know the usefulness of the river in a desert area. I came to know from this hub that the river would terminate in the land only. It is the water source for wild animals. It is quite interesting place.


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